Members of the State Senate Capital Investment Committee were greeted by over 180 veterans and other supporters on Monday afternoon, January 8, at the American Legion in Montevideo. The committee was in town as part of a three-week tour of communities around the state to hear presentations and requests for bonding funds from the state.
Assistant City Manager and Army National Guard veteran Angie Steinbach welcomed the committee to Montevideo. “You are here today to listen to us tell you why building and operating a veterans home in Montevideo makes sense,” she said.
Montevideo has been pursuing a veterans home for the past 11 years. State Senator David Senjum, R-Rochester, and chairman of the committee, said that they had not forgotten the cold, rainy day in November of 2015 when as many people turned out at the proposed veterans home building site at the intersection of County Road 15 and William Ave.
Each of the committee members were given a detailed and well-prepared Montevideo Regional Veterans Home Proposal and Plan of Action. The information detailed every aspect of the proposed project’s construction and associated costs.
Steinbach told the committee: “We need approval from the state to keep this project going. We have invested copious amounts of time. We have continued to do all of the research anytime a question has been asked. We have invested over five million dollars locally to this project.”
“Our veterans need and deserve this home, and our passion for serving our veterans will not subside.”
Marvin Garbe spoke next and thanked the committee, the veterans in attendance, and all who made the meeting possible. Garbe spoke eloquently of the need for a veterans home in Montevideo. “This site is a fine location in the state, and there is a need for our veterans. This home will allow for more frequent visits from their families without having them travel long distances,” he said.
State Representative Tim Miller stepped up to the podium to say: “One of the things to understand is, that over time, other communities that have pursued this have said they just don’t have the horsepower to be able to do this. Montevideo has been one of these communities that has not only stood the test of time on this, but you can see the annual investment that they’ve put into this... When they say this project is shovel ready, it is by almost every definition. We need to get some of these things moving forward. It’s ready to go right now.” Miller’s comments were well received by the audience who applauded loudly.
The estimated cost of the proposed 70-bed veterans home is $43,700,000. Over $5 million in pledges have been raised so far by community organizers.
The state’s share of the cost would be $14 million, but with the local contribution of $5 million, the state’s actual cost would be $9 million.
Two-thirds of the construction costs, $29 million, would be covered by the federal government. The state must approve its share of the funding before federal funds can be applied for.
Committee chairman Senjum could not say that the veterans home project would definitely receive funding, but he did tell the veterans home committee and those in attendance “You stand strong with respect to our bonding bill as we think about this year."